after an hour or so of putting the stuff together, I was able to finally start playing around with the ESX 4.0 bits.
I was relieved (and impressed) to find out that vSphere had no problems at all installing and running on my new whitebox:
My whitebox has the following specs:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775
Board: ASUS P5BV-M LGA 775 Intel 3200 Micro ATX Intel
Drive: Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA
Memory: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2
CD-ROM: ASUS 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DRW-22B1S
The installation was done from the SATA DVD - no issues at all.
All the on-board components (i.e. the dual NICs) were also detected no problem.
I am just getting going with this thing... Tomorrow I will install vCenter and a few VMs and after that will be testing upgrade scenarios from 3.5->4.0. Will post accordingly.